Plan Targets Tahoe Invasive Species

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA - A plan is taking shape that could protect Lake Tahoe for years. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the University of Nevada have developed a strategy to combat aquatic invasive species.

Plants like Curly Leaf Pondweed and Eurasian Water Milfoil, and animals like catfish and bullfrogs, aren't native to Tahoe and need to be removed.

"It is a threat to the environment, it's a threat to the economy, and it is a threat to recreation," said Joanne Marchetta, Executive Director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

The threat is nothing new, but a cooperative plan to deal with it just recently came together.

"Our goal behind this plan was to create a prioritization framework that would reduce the overall spread and associated damages with invasive species," said Marion Whittman, a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada who wrote the invasive species plan.

The plan brings together dozens of agencies and gives them similar goals. Specifically, scientists have used data to determine which invasive species are most likely to be eradicated.

"We basically pulled all of that together to come up with a way to establish which sites and which species we should tackle first," said Whittman.

It'll be the non-native plants and warm water fish that are first to go.

"We don't have enough funding to go out and do everything we want to do. This plan helps us identify where do we start," said Marchetta.

"I think in certain locations we may be able to remove some of the invasive species, but this is a long-term process,” said Whittman.

One of the biggest problems researchers have is finding out where invasive species are located in the lake. The League to Save Lake Tahoe has an “Eyes on The Lake Program” where people can learn to spot and report aquatic invasive species. For more information click on the link at right.